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Engineering student takes on inspirational challenge09 October 2012
Monash Engineering student Siobhan Kelly is embarking on a challenge to make a difference to the lives of underprivileged children in Cambodia one story book at a time. Siobhan is currently studying a Bachelor of Engineering in the field of Chemical Engineering and is a member of the Leadership in a Technological Environment (LITE) program.
LITE offers students the opportunity to acquire skills and knowledge which will assist in shaping them as the leaders of the future. The three-year, non-award program challenges and extends students, providing a platform for them to acquire skills which will serve them well beyond the transition from student to professional.
During her summer break, Siobhan travelled through South East Asia where she spent three weeks volunteering with a Cambodian not for profit, non-government organisation called Children’s Action for Development (CAD). The organisation is based in the rural communities outside the Cambodian city of Battambang, and aims to support underprivileged and vulnerable children through English literacy, numeracy, life skills, nutrition and family support programs. The core of the organisation is its three libraries, open to all local children and teenagers.
“The libraries are critically understocked and during their class break the young children crowd around the limited number of picture books, treating them like treasures. These children don’t have books or toys at home and the CAD library is their only exposure to the kind of beautifully illustrated stories that lined the shelves of my room when I was growing up. After seeing this key area of need, I started to think about the box under my house filled with the books from my childhood and realised there might be lots of people back at home who, like me, still have plenty of these childhood stories stored in spare rooms and attics and under the house. I hoped to find a way to collect some of these books to send back to the children at CAD.”
LITE students complete a Project Management workshop at the commencement of the third year of the program. Following on from the workshop, teams are asked to choose a project which they develop and project manage through to conclusion. Upon sharing her stories with her fellow LITE members, and with the help of the Monash Engineering Foundation, Siobhan’s team created a project, calling on the help of their fellow students to contribute to a children’s picture book drive that will help underprivileged children in Cambodia.
“Professor Gary Codner, Associate Dean (Special Projects) and the LITE program have been very supportive of this initiative and everyone in the LITE program has been hugely enthusiastic and I’m really excited to see what we can achieve. “
Donations can be made to Karen Cordell in Building 72, Room 112 during Week 11.